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the January 2001 - Newsletter #1
Welcome to the New Year,
and our first Info Notes of the millennium.
How fortunate we are to
avail ourselves to the immediacy of a technology
that in its complexity is simple enough for
us to communicate, using print or pictures,
by but pressing a send button.
The ancient Sumarians,
who lived between the rivers of the Tigris
and Euphrates, were first to recognize the
importance of growing crops to maintain a
healthful and thriving community. Records
dating back to 9000 B.C. have established
the facts that cross pollination, data of
growth management, and storage of seasonal
food crops has predicated the advancement
of horticulture to our time.
I believe that, in this
new year, we will see introductions from more
home-based, or cottage industries, unique
local products of horticultural value. Whether
innovative hardware used for pruning or garden
chores, packaged organic soil additives, production
of specific ornamental plants or a diversity
of home and yard ornamentals, the interest
and viability for our industry can only become
You may be interested
in our endeavors here at the property - just
east of Chipman. Besides hosting the 'What's
Up' radio phone-in, we are currently involved
in completing a steel and polycarbonate covered
greenhouse. This greenhouse will be the focus
for two related functions.
Although the building
materials are 'high tech', the procedures
used to grow the crops will be based on 'low
tech'. We will utilize minimal powered support
systems, ie: forced air heating and water
pressure, but by venting and zoning temperatures
without automation, thus resorting to the
logistics of a heritage-based greenhouse.
The first retail crop
of plants will be a cross-section of current
introductions and heirloom flower and vegetable
selections. Understanding your crops, means
spending more time maintaining them.
Following the spring sales
of the bedding plants, we will be installing
a vapor system to use when vegetative cuttings
of trees and shrubs are taken, then rooted
and potted into individual containers. Our
overwintered seeds of various trees and shrubs
will be ready to transplant, then grown on
under shade outdoors.
If you are interested
in learning to 'Grow Like a Pro' see complete
details at the end of these info notes.
The 3 1/2 hours course
will cover various procedures related to greenhouse
growing, and if any or all of the topics listed
will benefit your desire to 'learn by doing'
- let us know.
If you wish to specialize
in a topic(s) please advise me, and I'll make
sure we cover your request as best as possible.
Note: Landscaping is not included in these
Besides these horticultural-related
commitments, I will be offering very unusual
pieces for your home and garden decor. Historically
correct and researched history of the Celtic
and Gothic art will be displayed on our web
pages in a few weeks and if interested in
the production of this very specialized procedure,
I would be pleased to 'walk' you through the
Like a Pro' For
greenhouse plants, containers, annuals, perennials
and nursery stock.
'The Hows and Whys of Seeding'
with annual bedding plant calendar
Amorphia: more tips and tidbits ie: orchids, narcissus, seed germination,
As diverse as
horticulture is, there are always new and
innovative ideas that will further cause interest
and broaden our horizons.
I understand, should be short and to the point,
so will close by passing on my best wishes
to you for 2001.
the February/March 2001 - Newsletter #2
For many people, spring's
sign of arrival is determined by the first
sighting of a scampering gopher on an open
field, or of its residue upon the highway.
I find however, my best
indicator of a spring soon due, comes with
the activity of prising the first peat moss
bale from the icy build-up amongst the 'pro-mix'
bales-in-waiting, then man handling it onto
a greenhouse bench to begin its thaw. Like
the first presentation of the awaited ice
wine of 2000, another indicator of winters
waning is confirmed.
To own and operate ones
own greenhouse is as confounding as it is
satisfying. I believe there is no substitute
that rivals the experience of entering your
greenhouse during negative double digit outdoor
temperatures, then be warmed by the sun through
the glass, acrylic or poly covering.
While in this refuge from
reality, mythos time rules. Historically,
the first important procedure before plant
production begins, would be preparing the
seeding and potting mix for the ornamentals
and vegetables so carefully selected from
the wish-list of garden catalogues.
The pomp and pageantry
that will accompany the votive opening of
the first peat moss bag, heralds the impending
early scattering of seeds for our summer color,
and tomatoe horn worms.
The standard mix that
most growers use for initial seeding or transplant
mix will vary in measure, but seldom in content.
A growers personal choice
of blended organics may be as intricate as
dependable pre-mixed commercial blends are
It is not uncommon that
some growers still guard with persistence
their own recipe for the 'magic mix'.
This mindset can be traced
to the early 1920's when the local gardener
or greenhouse owner in the neighborhood was
almost as fanatical about protecting the seeding
mix recipe as the variety and combinations
of tobacco that would be stuffed into still
smoldering bowls of brier pipes.
I rather think that 'the
good old days' are better remembered than
prolonged. We have a available to us, a selection
of excellent combinations of soilless mixes
formulated to be used for seeding, transplanting,
potting, or as a base to add your own organic
substitutions or perceived improvements to
The time is almost at
hand to begin potting your
seedlings or cuttings, and will continue well
Know your plants optimum
growth requirements while in the greenhouse:
Hint: - hot sun: plants
used for long stem cut flowers.
- part shade: plants
with large flat leaves, and bicolor of leaves.
- mostly shade: large
flat leaves without bicolor.
Cross venting your plants
is important and accomplished by moving the
interior warm air out, and bringing the outdoor
in from opposed side wall vents. Whether electric
fans or convection currents, your stock will
The question of 'what
is the best fertilizer' is a personal preference.
So many packaged combinations, so many contradictory
opinions. There are more difficulties with
fertilizers due to improper mixing than improper
choice of product.
Plants require three important
additives to the soilless mix for continued
health and longevity. Fertilizer is blended
with a percentage of active ingredients.
is always the first number on the package
and supplies the necessary chlorophyl, or
the greening of the plant.
is second and represents the active ingredient
that promotes rooting.
the third number, and a natural rock material.
When added to the media of soilless mix, strengthens
the cellular growth, builds the immune system
of the plant and among other necessary attributes,
supplies the plant with an extended 'keeping
quality' that is important when over wintering
ornamentals and vegetable root crops.
We are custodians of living
breathing dependants. Their health and welfare
is up to the owner of these satisfying hobby
or business specimens. Remember to:
plan - organize - control
- and evaluate your production procedures.
Web site: www.whatsupstan.com
'NEW' for March 2001
Phyto Feature: 'Propagation
of Geraniums' - concise but descriptive
information on the 'how to' of geranium cuttings.
Also read about 'Natures
Packaging of a Rooting Aid'
(tips and tidbits): Learn about 'Natural Disease
Control', enzymes, growing of ivy geraniums,
fuchsia, oedema, and 'what are cordons?'
WAY IT IS
the May/June 2001 - Newsletter #3
This year has been one
of the very few, that afforded us an easy
transition from snow boots to sandals.
Because of the marginal
accumulation of snow, our early thaw was one
without snow melt to drench into the root
zones of trees, shrubs, perennials and turf.
Evergreens are showing
draught signs: faded leaves, loss of needles
and the crispy crunch test when handled. Little
can be done to resume healthy growth or encourage
new bud development. Unlikely, extra or excessive
water to these plants will make up for the
loss of over-wintering root zone moisture.
Perennials that were not
mulched or otherwise put to bed with adequate
water may need replacing. Your native stock
of trees and shrubs are tough, but may also
need a deep root watering.
Deep root watering usually
means an application of 30 gallons for each
seven year or more tree, during the next week
or so. For our hardy native shrubs, half the
water amount given in two-day intervals to
equal the total fifteen gallons.
We are experiencing the
greatest stress for awakening plants - WIND!!
Stress caused by excessive
wind is universal and affects both plant and
animal, by producing a loss of moisture through
leaves that the root system cannot compensate
for, or with we people animals, causing aches
and pains in joints or head and can psychologically
hinder our well being.
Reviewing my diaries,
I find that this year of 2001, since mid March
to date, has seen the windiest months since
the late 1970's. Out here in the Chipman area,
we have not had a concurrent three day reprieve
from constant to gusty winds lasting daily
and continuing into the evening and sometimes
It's bad enough to have
environmental pressure thrust upon ones self,
but we seem to thrive and survive, with a
self-inflicted form of stress that provokes
loss of diet, or may develop a nervous twitch,
some mild liver failure or limited dexterity
and guaranteed social deprivation is common.
Latent temper bursts without
warning, cause family aloofness, or a noticeable
temporary memory loss or attention span is
a given. So to what common source are these
maladies attributed? Own and operate a commercial
We are entering the season
of a fulfillment that began as seed or cuttings
during the month of December.
Plants grown with care
and experience are being groomed for that
mythical and magic time when all things to
grow are to be ceremoniously interred. There
is nothing magical about the 24th of May,
but just a convenient time for a spring long
weekend. That plants be subjected to the earth
is correct, but in seed form, not heavy with
bloom, direct from environmentally controlled
greenhouses where they have already lapsed
half of their productive time.
It is the promotional
and advertising hype that has secured these
three days as the arbitrary correct horticultural
planting dates! Of course, plants can and
are being sold and maintained by the customer
until suitable conditions are present in your
immediate location, and do thrive with little
or no set-back.
Beyond the Edmonton area
however, conditions are vastly hostile to
begin planting established annual ornamentals.
When manager of the horticultural
section for the Edmonton Parks and Recreation,
no bedding plant in pac or pot left the greenhouses
before the first weekend in June. This extra
week or two after the 24th of May gave the
crews time to deep dig the ornamental beds,
add slow release nitrogen and phosphorus prills
and deep water. Grooming, or raking the beds
was done a day prior to planting.
While many home owners
were busy replacing plants from frost in May,
our beds never needed replacement - good timing
- good management!
NOW - speaking
of good timing! There is a new presence in
the greenhouse industry, 10 miles east of
Elk Island Park, between highways 16 and 15
on the north /south Range Road of 182.
We are calling it 'ZONE
Our weather conditions
here in Lamont County warrant a selection
of plants that are able to survive and thrive.
Annuals and perennials are all grown as cool
crops then hardened off, in the extremes of
our location. Cold nights, wind, hot sun and
arid conditions will be nothing less than
'home' for these plants. Perennials that are
native, or introductions that can adapt to
your location. ZONE 3 says it all!
Potted seedling shrubs
and rooted cuttings will be available during
the early summer.
KALYNA COUNTRY - Take
a Lamont County break - we look forward to
Until then -
the September/October 2001 - Newsletter
Unlike the ancient Celts
who celebrated this most important season
of Samhain by lighting huge bale/bonfires
atop the highest of hillocs in their region
to drive the impending darkness back during
the autumnal equinox; they were also celebrating
the belief that barriers of man and the supernatural
were lowered. Thus began the dark days of
Those were the days! Yes
indeed! Those were the days of one basic inconvertible
fact: no food, no hope of surviving the harsh
winters for the family unit or their live
If but not for the sumarians
who first grew produce between the Euphrates and Tigress Rivers some 10,000
years ago, and before the pyramids, we never
would have known that garlic stored
in olive oil and in the larder, keeps better,
is more tasteful and less apt to pass on botulism:
or that turnips kept in the larder
overnight are easier to peel and section.
Before boiling, don't forget to sprinkle a
tablespoon of sugar per turnip into the pot
while mashing them.
Central Alberta and northwards
to the Peace River Country is well known for
the early frosts that damages or kills annual
plants and tender vegetable crops. There is
a fine line between picking apples, pears,
or grapes before a mild frost that sets their
sugar content, or with a feeling of apprehension,
leaving the fruit on the tree at all, knowing
full well that in Alberta, the first frost
could be a killing or damaging frost to all
above ground crops.
Know your immediate microclimate.
The zone maps can only be relied upon for
temperature averages and therein can be only
a guide to qualify optimum historic charted
Our fall does not necessarily
portend a completion of horticultural or arboraculture
activities. There is plenty of time to plant
bulbs, add new perennials, divide existing
perennials and relocate to increase the visual
and companion allelopathy between neighboring
plants or amongst themselves.
is the natural method by which plants compete
or compliment each other.
Lawn seeding or soding
can continue to freeze-up. Containerized nursery
stock can be successfully planted, existing
trees or shrubs can be moved and planted until
Watering is important
to insure successful over wintering. From
now until freeze-up, established trees and
shrubs could be watered with up to 30 gallons,
and well established evergreens up to 100
gallons of water per tree. Deciduous trees
need not have the volume that evergreens require,
but within 40 or 50 gallons until freeze-up.
Coming Soon! Changes
and updates to our web site: www.whatsupstan.com
Also, e-mailing Stan with
your questions will be easier, just click
on the 'Ask Stan' button on the left menu.
A new feature, 'Stan Reply's' will answer
those questions on-line.
What's happening at ZONE
We are currently planning
and planting our Perennial Gardens Phase
I that will feature numerous sample varieties
of perennials that will thrive in zone 3.
Watch our web site for photo updates of our
We have available now...suitable
hardy plant stock for hedging and windbreaks:
Green Ash, Laurel Leaf Willow,
Well rooted with heights
of 24"to 30" in one liter containers
at $4.00 each.
to find Zone 3 Growers:
you are travelling on highway 15 from
Fort Saskatachewan, Lamont areas and
located 3 miles east of Chipman on Range
Road 182 and 2 miles south of highway
you are travelling from Mundare, Vegreville
areas and beyond:
located 3 miles west of Hilliard on
Range Road 182 between highway's 15
Edmonton travel on highway 16 east:
east boundary of Elk Island Park, just
where the Ukrainian Village begins,
travel 10 miles east to Range Road 182
and 5 miles north of highway 16.
you will cross secondary highway 834
which connects Chipman and Tofield.)
go 4 miles beyond to RR 182.)
Our Hours are: Monday
to Saturday - 10 AM to 6 PM
Sunday - NOON to 6 PM
If evening is more suitable,
e-mail us at: email@example.com
Or, leave you phone number
at (780) 363-2140 for arrangements.
Don't forget to water
your evergreens and early spring flowering
IN IS WHATS BIN
the November/December 2001 - Newsletter
As you may know, a recent
study of peoples spare time activities has
indicated that all facets of gardening is
top of the list, exceeding golf, and that
other favorite past time...painting the house.
There is no lack of informative
gardening magazines that have earned the coveted
center- shelf position in the box stores,
specialty bookstores and garden centers.
Thankfully the all too
many, and never ending cook books, have been
allocated to bottom shelves and there, have
to compete with stamp and door knob collectors.
Not many years ago, the
only contact with spring in January would
arrive by mail accompanied by the Eaton's
and Simpson Sears catalogues. The once yearly
local seed catalogue from Pike Seeds, The
Seed Center and Stokes Seeds from the east,
would always be a welcome reminder that springs
renewal was but a few blizzards away, and
the waist deep snow drifts and minus thirties,
would soon succumb to the distant thaws of
Horticultural soft cover
publications and their information, was solid
and basic. The very earliest of these earthy
compendiums, had few, if any illustrations.
Any that were included, would be an artists
conception to illustrate hard goods like hose
ends, called wands or roses, garden spades,
wheeled barrows, and dibbers used to transfer
the plants into pots or garden soils from
the seed flats. Mechanical hand operated grass
seed spreaders, the three tined Dutch hoe
was always a favorite, and of course the artistic
renderings of the flowers or vegetables of
the named seed pacs, would surely guarantee
a hasty mail order return.
These early seed pacs
were a definite art form, and soon became
as popular as the seeds the pac contained.
['pac' is a horticultural term for package
Advancing a few generations
from the serious pulp pages of the early seed
catalogues, the innovation of the color and
glossy horticultural publications began to
be distributed by many seed companies, hoping
to interest and inform the ever increasing
home hobbyist gardener.
The more common and time
proven seed variety of plants popular during
the forties, fifties and sixties, began to
decline in favor of the new introductions
of hybridized flowers and vegetables.
So many casual and serious
growers, so many diverse locations and so
The recent presentations
and advancement of most engineered (hybridized)
ornamentals, have one very important omission
in their chromosome factor: simply, the ability
to adapt to the myriad of environmental conditions
that our prairie provinces are guaranteed
Passive, and committed
growers are expanding their horticultural
horizons by recognizing the almost untapped
concept of cast off hard goods.
What gardening based magazine
that you last saw, does not have an old wheeled
barrow, a discarded water bucket, perhaps
some broken or well used gardening tools as
the focal point of the photo lay-out?
Photos of weathered barn
boards used for fencing and elderly iron gates
are always favored as the focal and literary
subjects of gardening décor.
Your imagination is limitless
when planning a concept or theme garden. The
use of antique or replications of statuary,
formed with concrete or terra cotta, adds
a feature that plants alone cannot duplicate.
A weathered post anchored
into the ground and perhaps seven or eight
feet high, could have wooden pegs drilled
into the post to hang old tools like spades,
garden forks, trowels and even your old rain
coat. This simple elevated statement, using
a 'tool post' is reminiscent of the gardeners
means of being prepared, by organizing the
tools used daily and easily available.
Well used and discarded
ladders set against a wall to support vines
like clematis, virginia creepers, hops or
even pole beans are unique and a productive
addition to the theme of gardening nostalgia.
Old used metal watering
cans are in! An original English Haws watering
can, in almost any condition will fetch upwards
to four hundred dollars. Posters from the
twenties of garden seeds or hard goods advertising
a known or obscure horticultural company may
go for two or three hundred dollars.
Tour the garage sales,
the junque shops, the back alleys, the auction
sales. Barter with your neighbors, your friends,
their friends. No limits.
There is no more diverse
activity, to which you can introduce almost
anything to accent your growing ideas, as
the hobby of horticulture.
During the following months,
I will endeavor to keep you informed of our
progress here with Zone 3 Growers.
Our objective, is to develop
a commercial center, that will promote and
encourage an interest in the selection of
plant goods and the procedure necessary to
promote their growth and productive ability.
It is imperative that
we not forget our own heritage plants, and
their contribution to the industry of horticulture
and arboriculture. Many of the newer introductions
of plants to the market, have as their under
stock, an Alberta hardy root system. Our native
perennial flowers are increasingly being the
recognized base for hybridized stock, and
available to the consumer, as 'new and improved'
We are currently finishing
a series of planted beds featuring the hardiest
of perennials. Combination planting with perennials
and an alpine area depicts suitable plant
varieties that thrive in 'Zone 3' conditions.
An arbor of fifty feet
in length and eight wide, has been completed,
and will be planted with virginia creepers
to begin their journey upon a wire mesh support.
Because we have chosen
not to install county power, we have ready,
a fifty-five foot wind mill tower and intend
to erect it with a wind power electric generating
unit. This unit will charge twelve volt batteries,
to which an inverter will boost the power
to 110 volts, allowing a squirrel cage fan
to inflate the double poly covering on the
greenhouse and will power a small vent fan.
Because we are growing
as it used to be, our utilities are at a minimum.
Solar power will supply twelve volts of power
to a battery, then to twelve volt water pumps.
We will soon have a compendium
of digital photos to illustrate our activities
that demonstrates procedures relative to printed
Underestimating or dismissing
our own available native plant material, can
be a heritage lost.
Develop your interest
and ingenuity, using our natural gems to compliment
your plantscape with purpose and imagination.
- Re: www.whatsupstan.com
the 'what's up' page now has 'Stan
Responds' on the menu. Just click there,
and locate all the questions I have answered
to date. Do check them over before you e-mail
me to make certain your concerns have not
yet been answered. This segment will be
- The 'Recipe
Cupboard' has all the recipes I've oft-time
mentioned. Divided into 3 groups: Recipe
Ideas from the garden, Novelty Recipes,
and Seasonal Treats.
Enjoy the seasons activities,
and wish you all a successful and productive
THERE CAN BE FRAUGHT WITH SUCCESS
the January 2002 - Newsletter #6
The weeks relentless advance
towards the increasing daylight, seemingly
gathers speed, while collecting exponential
duties that are required for successful procedures,
important to the success of ornamental and
JANUARY - The days
of January serve two purposes, be-fitting
its Roman namesake.
Janus is a Roman deity, seen as two faces
in profile; one looking backwards, the other
facing the opposite direction. Janus views
the retreating darkness, and at the same time
the opposing face; the advancing light of
This deity is a 'Janus-form'
Ed Note: some literature
misrepresents Janus as two heads on one body,
thus wrongly labeling Janus as a polycephalous.
Luckily, Caesar beheld
the difference, as the first month of the
new year, could just as well been named Polycephalary.
On with the Info Notes:
What begets success in growing, is a plan
of procedure that limits mistakes and their
difficulty to rectify. Any regimen of procedure
that will accomplish desired results, will
present problems to over-come. Having a plan
as simple as notes on the calendar - or a
spread sheet of detailed tasks will aid in,
and remind you of the chronological steps
necessary from seed to satisfaction.
January is a month of
dismally cold weather, but an important time
to begin the tasks that are important to we
Shop your horticultural
catalogues for plant varieties, and list them
by name and distributor.
Have an idea of what plant
varieties you would like to grow, and how
many of each.
List your choices in alphabetical
order, as the catalogues, and local stores
display them on the seed racks.
Annual/perennial/bi-annual and tree or shrub
seeds, when sold in pacs, will indicate the
approximate count of seed in each pac, or
the number of seed by weight, in each pac.
Recommended seeding dates
are also being included for indoor greenhouse
or direct seeding into the gardens.
With the knowledge of seeds per-pac, you can
easily plan your 'growing needs'. Shop as
soon as the seeds are available, as the best
selection will quickly diminish, and you may
have to resort to alternative, but similar
As you gather your seed,
keep the perennials in the fridge, and in
order of seeding dates. Trees and shrub seeds
and bi-annuals can be treated as perennials.
Many 'home growers' are
using the professional size bales of pre-mixed,
and blended mix for seeding and transplanting.
'Pro-mix' number three or four is the choice
of many growers, and now available at most
garden, greenhouse, nursery centers.
For the advanced grower,
or an avid adventurist, January is a month
of new beginnings, and in order of seeding
or cuttings for spring/summer flowering, these
following plants can be seeded or vegetatively
Hardwood cuttings of junipers, roses and
First seeding of perennials.
Annuals to be pinched for March.
Begin tuberous begonias from tubers.
First geranium and fuchsia cuttings.
Note: When seeding perennials,
begin their journey to germination in a mix
of 1/3 each peat, perlite, and sand (or fine
gravel crush). No bottom heat until seed husks
begin to break open. Cutting material and
tubers can begin in perlite with bottom heat.
Preparation for continued
growing of seed and rooted cuttings can save
time and stress, if all containers are washed
and sorted to receive their respective specimens.
Have soilless mixes prepared,
and the area sanitized with a general and
thorough cleaning to hamper any pests or disease.
Your 'keeper' plants, whether for cuttings
or as permanent indoor dwellers could be inspected
for insects or disease, and treated forthwith.
January in Alberta is
synonymous with below freezing temps and winds,
but greenhouse building and procedures continue.
Our Zone 3 Growers facility is expanding
to include informal ornamental beds planted
with a cross-section of very hardy perennials
A gazebo of unique design
and function will display samples of sub alpine
perennials featuring a 12 volt solar-powered
circulation water pump. Our 50 foot arbor
is complete and ready to be a focal point
for your choice of potted perennials and vines.
Most unique to our greenhouses,
will be wind generated power atop a forty-five
foot windmill tower. The power generated from
the wind will be transferred from 12 volts,
to an inverter that will provide enough 110
volt power to operate necessary mechanics.
I believe there is a need
and interest for innovative ideas and unique
applications, to both structure, operation
and enjoyment of horticulture, and hope our
Zone 3 Growers will aid in this transition
from 'ho-hum', to new horizons.
Horticulture is an ever-changing
activity, and so to our web site www.whatsupstan.com
will be taking on a change, a more informative
'new look' and we will keep you posted.
the February 2002 - Newsletter #7
- the second month of the year, containing
in ordinary years, 28 days; and in the bissextile
or leap year, 29 days.
February: from the Latin
word "to smoke" since it is the
time of year to fumigate or more broadly,
This activity was not specific to the Romans,
as ritual burnings by some ancient tribes
of Celts were known to scourge crop lands
of weeds and pests ready for annual seeding
of food crops. By Druid law, in flaming pits,
the cleansing also included the burning to
death, of captive Out landers and slaves no
Today, the origination
of fumigation may be unknown to some, or forgotten
by others; but is however, a quite necessary
procedure to consider before seeding or taking
cuttings so susceptible to damaging pests
In a working or growing area that will be
used to promote growth, and can be restricted
by confining the fumigates, is a proven and
When fumigating, using
smoke, gas, or pressurized active ingredients,
all surfaces of contents that may harbour
bugs or potential disease organisms, will
be engulfed, and left with a residual of pesticide
that deters subsequent infection.
'Smoke bombs' that are
used by professional growers are extremely
poisonous, and not available to the domestic
market. There are however, alternative fumigants
that the domestic grower may use, with very
Doctor Doom has 3 sizes
of fumigators, each applicable to a variety
of spatial requirements. There are as well,
'home remedy' ingredients, that when left
to smolder in metal containers, do very well
in killing active insect pests. Dry leaves
and stems of Absinthe or Artemisia Silver
King or Silver Mound is well known and easily
available. Dry leaves of the Canna Lily are
almost equally toxic, and they too easily
Before using any fumigant,
early evening is best, as all the pests are
at home, and not foraging out of the control
area. Do not water your plants any later than
4 hours before application. All doors, vents
or other escape holes need to be closed before
fumigation. Do not enter the room until the
following morning, and immediately open doors,
and vents to 'freshen' the room.
There are a few plants
that may show signs of leaf damage: ferns,
jade plants and kalanchoe should be removed
Fumigants seldom control
disease, but if hard goods including paths,
benches, on top as well as underneath, rafters,
side wall supports, concrete and sand, gravel
or concrete walks or floors can be sprayed
with an Agricultural product called creolin.
February harolds serious
seeding. Hardy perennials begun the first
or second week of February, will be potted
into 4" pots for greenhouse or nursery
sales, ten weeks from the seed date.
If for a few varieties
of early seeded perennials, Cushion spurge,
Baby's Breath, Armeria, Delphinium, Platycodon,
Chrysanthemum, Arabis, and Myosotes, can be
direct seeded into 4"x4" square
pots and grown on in cool bright conditions.
Seriously consider the
seeding of living ground covers. The necessity
of live ground covers is becoming not only
of ornamental interest, but of a necessity
to retain soil moisture and healthier sub-soil
These perennials are hardy
to zone 3a and when planted as companions
to annuals, trees and shrubs, or as focal
point landscape designs that can represent
sub alpine zones, prairie, marsh and forest
Allysum Saxatile, Arabis
Alpina, Arenaria Sandwort, Armeria Thrift,
Aubrietia Rock Cress,
Bellis Daisy, Bergenia Cordifolia,
Campanula Bell Flowers, Cerastium Snow in
Euphorbia Cushion Spurge,
Physalis Chinese Lantern,
Saponaria Soapwort, Sedum, Sweet William.
The above list of low
growing hardy perennials are quite available
on the seed racks in most of the greenhouses
and garden centres. For most home growers,
there are enough seeds in each pack to grow
useful and attractive ground covers.
Our Zone 3 Growers are
in the midst of seeding upwards to 50 Zone
3 perennials, and will begin potting these
starters in 4" pots ready for spring/summer
Grow cool, Grow clean,
March 2002 - Info Notes
MARCH - 1st named Imbolic
by the ancient Celts as the coming of light,
then named Mars by the Romans for their God
of War. Mars, also referred to as the red
planet, and fourth from our sun. March is
the only named month that orders action!
Romans named the month well, as March is perceived
as the unkindness month of the year. Clashing
combative weather systems are frequent and
often terrible in ferocity and ominous power.
this month, we growers are at the cusp of
pre-spring activity, by summarily interrupting
the dormancy of seeds and hastening the pre-natural
rooting of vegetative cuttings.
is the month that tests the growers ability
to control the greenhouse support systems,
or other structures that require constant
environmental controls that are appropriate
for plant life.
rely on electricity and a safe water supply,
but when these vital utilities fail, our back-up
systems must be employed. Truly a balancing
act between natural elements and our experience.
trust our suppliers of plant stock and seeds.
We trust the packaged fertilizers that are
so important for prolonged plant growth to
fruit or flower.
We gain information, substance and knowledge
from literature and other growers knowledge.
compounding, often contradictory, we all seem
to muddle along solving the daily problems,
and averting, with professional aplomb, most
horticultural crisis, but always enjoying
here at ZONE 3 GROWERS have decided to become
self sufficient. Our 'well' can produce enough
water for our needs. Power to electrify water
pumps, lights, and heater motors will be generated
final stages of preparing, and installation
of the generator is at hand.
Completion of a third greenhouse, is weeks
away, with only the application of poly carbonate
panels to the sides and roof.
cuttings are ready to pot. Nepeta cuttings
will be rooted in 4 weeks.
Space is at a premium. Hanging 12" pots
are to be planted with ivy geraniums that
thrive in morning sun, and afternoon to evening
ZONE 3 GROWERS, will be supplying hardy, well
grown annuals and perennials ready to transplant
into your pot, planters and beds; proving
their hardiness in your yard.Our web site
has a great 'new look'.
www.whatsupstan.com and take a peek!
will be impressed.
Cool, Grow Clean, Grow Well,
April 2002 - Newsletter #9
ancient or other-tongue society, being Avril,
Aprilis, or Aphrodite, the fourth month of
our year 2002 is proving her Roman namesake.
Given to fits of ill temper, peevishness,
irritability, saucy, forward, capricious,
"We need the moisture", rationalizes
our complete frustrated disappointment and
tickoffedness. Our recent weather is more
like the winter doldrums than the sighting
of the daffodils.
the eternal optimists, we cope, we forgive,
we overcome by projecting fruitful interim
preparative duties. Yea - right !
is jolted into productive energies, with the
first two days that struggle to a single digit,
to above freezing solid.
stuff includes locating the lawn mower and
roto-tiller from squatting over an ever deepening
puddle of leaking oil that has already penetrated
into the wood floor of the garden shed or
concrete pad of the garage.
I: Sprinkle horticultural perlite or vermiculite
over the oil to absorb the oil, then discard.
II: Collect all the hand tools that may
need sharpening, and at the same time brush
their wood handles with linseed oil to help
preserve the wood.
III: Empty your hanging pots and other
portable containers of soil or soilless mix.
Add to the volume, a soil amendment like 'Iron
Bull' or some such packaged organic, to boost
the fertility of the entire mix for healthier
and more productive plants.
IV: Grafting can take place; pruning and
shaping done. Shovel snow between duties.
Our Zone 3 Greenhouses are in the midst of
becoming productive, and with much interest
in our novel ideas and procedures in growing
dependable hardy plants. We look forward to
your visits by mid May, and into the planting
season of June.
the blowing and drifting snow succumbs to
greening of the home turf, I am including,
with permission from the author, the following
stopped fertilizing my lawn back in 1986ish-knowing
that today's fertilizers were leaching into
our water system. The first year - my lawn
looked like it was going to die. It was, as
I knew it would, look bad cuz of its dependence
from previous owners on fertilizer. The 2nd
and third years (my husband and I nearly divorced
over it) it looked ratty and thin. But I did
not pick up the cuttings, I kept up the deep
root watered and prayed the neighbors would
start to talk to me again. But, by the 4th
year - it was apparent that I won. It stayed
green longer than my neighbors in the fall
- theirs turned yellow and the green heathly
patch was on my yard. AND in spring- it was
green first and thick. The better it got,
the less weeds, clover and dandylions (spelling)
appeared. I still have to get after the dandylions
but all in all, with good watering and removal
of thatch every other year - my lawn is in
excellent shape and there is not much to do.
Love your show when I get up in time to listen
to it on Sunday's.
growing - L. A. (Spruce Grove)"
With my compliments to the author,
A VERY MERRY MONTH OF MAY
May 2002 - Newsletter #10
- 5th month of the year, and named after the
Roman goddess of growth, MAIA
No other month, since the sectioning of the
364 1/2 days that make up our calendar year,
holds the promise of things to be green and
The culture of we North Americans, include time
honored festivities that can be traced rearward
to the early ironage. Some we still celebrate,
albeit a tad watered down, but no less enjoyable,
even without sacrifices to the nature gods that
would ensure abundant crops and harvests of
foodstuff to last the winter months.
The May Pole, the astrological connection to
seeding and planting, the worship of the sun
by almost everyone - even the frantic betting
of coin, as to what exact time in May would
the ice pile up on Lac St Anne's shore to the
ever popular precise time of a wrecked car beneath
the melting ice on Seymour Arm Lake in BC.
May month has her darker side, unscheduled storms
with icy rain, wet heavy snow, force 8 winds
and falling temperatures that test a growers
sanity and stress level, then quickly levels
out with her apology of milder and even hot
days and sultry evenings.
May's connection to a religious sect appears
first in Egypt, then becomes anchored in importance
amongst the Romans.
Mythrias, who is sometimes referred to as male
or female, would release the blood of a bull
over believers standing under a scaffold on
which the bull was killed.
The bulls sacred blood would be collected in
urns, and ceremoniously spread upon the ground
to be seeded with food crops.
Mithraism succumbed to Christianity as Rome
began to falter and crumble. This pagan activity
today is still observed, yes, but without, the
hassle of finding a sacred bull, we 'bop on
down' to the garden centre for a bag of blood
meal and distribute it onto a ground to be seeded,
or onto the grass as an observance to an ancient
shadowed time and place.
Out here at ZONE 3 GROWERS, we are in our second
season of a horticultural development that progresses
to be a unique facility that will successfully
blend history and horticulture.
During the winter weekends and a few good days
during the week, we managed to begin and complete
an additional greenhouse that represents the
accepted style of houses during the late 1940's.
Other than the space-age poly-carbonate that
serves to represent single diamond glass walls
and roof, our greenhouse will be utilized to
begin early seedlings, then transplanted to
grow on for pacs or pots. Climate control is
strictly operated by human-hand, as vents are
opened and closed by hand to accomplish the
necessary temperatures for the plant health
and continued growth. Heating was accomplished
this season by using propane as fuel for space
heaters, but will endeavor to supply late fall
and winter heat by a coal fired boiler.
Conventional power is not a necessity for our
greenhouse operation; heating will be by hot
water convection, and cooling by cross-crop
venting. Our minimal power requirements for
small sundry utilities will lend themselves
to wind or solar generated 12 volts, then inverted
to 110 volts. If all else fails, two heavy gas
generators are standing by.
Since the fall, our schedule that included having
a wind generator up and charging, has been delayed,
but expect to have our own 'power company' soon.
Keeping within our guidelines of history and
horticulture, a variety of flowering and fruiting
nursery stock will be available by mid June
and representative of local plants. Whips and
2nd year transplants will be available in one
and two liter containers. I'll keep you informed!
We are open now, Mon - Fri 10am-8 pm; Sat -
Sun 10am-6pm. Our selection of perennials are
perfectly timed for June to July planting. Our
annuals are short, bushy, well rooted and hardened
off to withstand cold seasonal conditions.
ZONE 3 GROWERS will be busy well into the summer:
Look forward to your visit!
We are located on Rng Rd 182 between Hwy 16
and 15. Click on the 'contact us' button on
our web site www.whatsupstan.com for complete
After many requests for the lawn thingy I read
on Sunday's What's Up
here it is!!!
Lawns & God
GOD: Francis, you know all about gardens
and nature. What in the world is going on
down there in Canada? What happened to the
dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started
eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance
garden plan. Those plants grow in any type
of soil, withstand drought and multiply with
abandon. The nectar from the long lasting
blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees
and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see
a vast garden of colors by now. But all I
see are these green rectangles.
FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled
there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started
calling your flowers "weeds" and
went to great lengths to kill them and replace
them with grass.
Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful.
It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and
bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental
with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really
want all that grass growing there?
FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go
to great pains to grow it and keep it green.
They begin each spring by fertilizing grass
and poisoning any other plant that crops up
in the lawn.
The spring rains and warm weather probably
make grass grow really fast. That must make
the Suburbanites happy.
FRANCIS Apparently not, Lord. As soon
as it grows a little, they cut it, sometimes
twice a week.
They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them
rake it up and put it in bags.
They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they
FRANCIS: No, sir -- just the opposite.
They pay to throw it away.
Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize
grass so it will grow. And when it does grow,
they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
FRANCIS: Yes, sir.
These Suburbanites must be relieved in the
summer when we cut back on the rain and turn
up the heat. That surely slows the growth
and saves them a lot of work.
FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this,
Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast,
they drag out hoses and pay more money to
water it so they can continue to mow it and
pay to get rid of it.
What nonsense. At least they kept some of
the trees. That was a sheer stoke of genius,
if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves
in the spring to provide beauty and shade
in the summer. In the autumn they fall to
the ground and form a natural blanket to keep
moisture in the soil and protect the trees
and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves
form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural
circle of life.
FRANCIS: You'd better sit down, Lord.
The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle.
As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them
into great piles and pay to have them hauled
No. What do they do to protect the shrub and
tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil
moist and loose?
FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves,
they go out and buy something which they call
mulch. They haul it home and spread it around
in place of the leaves.
And where do they get this mulch?
FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind
them up to make the mulch.
Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore.
St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts.
What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
CATHERINE: "Dumb and Dumber,"
Lord. It's a real stupid movie about
Never mind, I think I just heard the whole
story from St. Francis.
SO- O-O-O-O TRUE!!
2002 - Notes #11
- Named for the Goddess of women, marriage
and child birth - wife of Jupiter, Great God
JULY - Name taken from the Roman Emperor
AUGUST - Our eighth month and named
for Julius Caesar's successor, Augustus Caesar,
and who's favourite beverage, was Tomatoe
and Clam Juice.
Not in a few generations have we been affected
by weather conditions during the last three
months, that so severe, will continue to affect
both agricultural and horticultural crops.
The residual implications, not yet apparent,
will begin to show in late fall and during
the spring of 2003.
Our most basic natural plant support requirements
are water and soil. Of course air, light and
temperature is a basic need, but difficult
to alter when maintaining trees, shrubs, perennials
and annual growth outdoors.
Extensive drying and wind abrasion on open
soils has limited the health of the soil by
killing or at best, reducing drastically the
content and viability of micro-life. A lack
of natural beneficial organisms in the first
three inches of the soil, has a dramatic negative
reaction to plant growth.
Poor soil means poor plants.
Unless organic material suitable for soil
conditioning is added, very soon, and inches
of mulch is applied to protect the soil while
microbial transfer begins, it will take years
before healthy plants will establish and thrive.
Natural nitrogen from above - Contrary
to some learned vocal opinions, our recent
rains accompanied by electrical stimulus,
Here's how it works:
1. Lightening strikes, breaking atmospheric
Nitrogen [N2] apart.
2. As air begins to cool, free Nitrogen
(N) combines with free Oxygen (O) to form
Nitric Oxide (NO).
3. Further cooling adds more Oxygen (O),
forming nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
4. Nitrogen Dioxide dissolves in rainwater,
(H2O), forming Nitric Acid (HNO3).
5. Nitric Acid loses Hydrogen (H), and becomes
6. Finally - This form of Nitrogen is then
available to plants.
Every bolt of lightening naturally produces
Nitrogen fertilizer that helps forest and
agricultural crops maintain their greening.
Although early, deep root watering of all
your established trees and shrubs could now
begin. What available moisture to the root
systems and below, was depleted weeks ago
and needs to be replenished during the weeks
into late October.
Twenty gallons each week, slowly drenched
to individual deciduous and evergreens, will
ensure an adequate reservoir to lengthen ripening
off, which is an important overture to the
process of dormancy.
Saskatoons: aka - Amelanchier Canadensis
or Service Berry or even Stolonifera - (producing
stolons, which are underground stems that
anchor vertical shoots or suckers)
Berry producing shrubs and trees, can easily
be propagated by seed once the fruit has completely
Berries from 25 species of saskatoons are
small deciduous trees and shrubs native to
North America, Europe, and Asia, produce 'perfect'
white flowers in terminal clusters, sometimes
before leafing out. Fruits are berry-like
poms (many seeded fruit of the rose family).
Also, berries are indehiscent - or non-splitting
fruit, to disperse seeds.
Now!! Macerating is necessary to extract seed:
Put 1/2 cup berries to 1 cup water in food
processor. Process for 3-5 seconds to relieve
the seeds from the berries. Drain. Scatter
seed and pulp on wax paper and leave for at
least one week to dry. Put in covered container,
and keep in fridge for 5-8 months at -5 to
-15 C. Treat as seeded early perennials in
This process can be used for any shrub or
tree producing berries.
September 'Info Notes' will help you understand
the process and reality of winterizing your
From Sept-Oct, 2002 - Notes #12
SEPTEMBER - Named for the Roman
ninth month of the calendar 'septa'.
OCTOBER - Named for the Roman
eighth month 'octa'.
This year's onerous introduction to a shift in
our comfortable perspective of each month's
omni-suitability to our agricultural and
horticultural community, was unpredictable but
not entirely unprecedented.
Climatologists will advise us that we are
entering an unremitting cycle of altering
Cores of ice and rock taken hundreds of feet
beneath the northern perma-frost, and bristle
cone pines from the rim of the Grand Canyon
that show growth rings dating back to the last
millennium, indicate climate warming and
cooling, has, and very surely will continue
OLD NEWS! How can any one argue
the chronological proof of earth's warming and
cooling, that has been documented since man
could scratch onto rock or paint on cave
Prior to 5000 BC a warming climate followed
the retreat of glacial years.
By 2000 BC the climate continues, but
By 1000 BC severe decline to colder weather
By 500 BC Greenland becomes inhabitable.
And so it goes to 500 AD, when the North
Atlantic climate becomes warmer.
Facts are confusing. I would rather accept the
original beliefs spun from four elements:
Earth - Air - Water - Fire.
Management of these elementary life-giving
forces when understood and applied, ultimately
affect our day to day decisions, opportunities
Awareness is the essence that knowing the
three sisters Fate, have, and continue to
impart credibility, as the mythical and
legendary 'Daughters of the Night'.
Fate: its not our fault - It is the
Fate sisters (or one, two or the three of
them), and responsible for what happens to
individuals and their aspirations.
CLOTHO ('The Spinner'), LACHESIS ('The
Apportioner'), and ATROPOS ('The Inevitable').
Between the 'girls', they spin a length of
yarn , which represents the allotted span for
each of we mortals, our set-backs and
The Boy Scout motto 'Be Prepared,' is as
relevant to adults as to the 'boys of Baden
The drought and its affect upon our flora has
This 2002 is but a prelude to the second major
aridity since 1923 that led into the dirty
Preparations can begin even now, that will
forestall damage to your perennial trees,
shrubs and ornamentals.
For any grower of outdoor plants, putting to
bed is priority one. It's not too late.
Whether a few external perennials, or a whole
whack of ornamentals, a simple procedure (s)
may make the effort worth while, and prove
quite evident by mid April into May.
Whether established plants, or recent
additives to your collection, watering is
Limiting the opportunity for the evaporation
of moisture from the soil, and less
compaction of soil particles that will allow
a constancy of oxygen to the plants root
zone, is essential.
Soak with neutral pH water until overflow.
Leave the clinging leaves on the plant
Mulch with three or four inches of dry
strawberries, heuchera, or bergenias, mulch
under the leaves to leave the leaves exposed
to gather energy to pass down to the root
systems for complete dormancy.
organic mulch that covers the entire soil,
including the area directly about each plant
is worth while to consider.
Choosing the hardiest of our local zones 2,
3, and 4 perennials is rudimentary.
Establish the soils pH using an easily
obtained soil test kit. Plants do best when
planted in their 'home land' acid to
alkaline conditions. Sun, shade and
variations of these exposures will be the
deciding, or final factor to success.
We have seen and marveled at the fall
colouring this fall of our very native and
heritage trees and shrubs. Brighten your
yard with colour for fall of 2003. A few
suggestions that you might consider when
shopping for foliar Fall colour follows:
Evergreens / High or Low Bush Cranberries /
Echiveria (sempervivum)/ Sedums / Nanking
Cherry / Spireas/ Raspberry / Cotoneaster /
Amure Maples / Redstem Dogwood / Currents /
Golden and Red Elder / Dolgo and Baccata
Crab Apples / Schuberts Cherry.
You really must consider the zone 2 & 3
hardy roses ie: Parks and Explorer Series
that best become ground covers, shrub or
Preparing your plants for fall is as
important as the spring duties to begin
another successful earth oriented adventure.
We all have many skeins of yarn left to
thwart the fates.
Coming in November/December Info Notes:
Early Perennial Seeding - the special
conditions for early starters.
Wind Power Personified.
Back On Track
From Nov/Dec 2002 Jan 2003 - Notes #13
NOVEMBER: From the latin 'ninth', as it was the ninth (nova) month of the Roman year.
DECEMBER: From the latin 'tenth', as it was the tenth (deca) month of the Roman year.
JANUARY: From the Roman God Janus, represented as a forward-looking face, and on the same head, a rearward looking countenance (janisform).
To begin, these notes are sadly arriving far later than I ever expected.
The following text reminds me of a local fellow who lives in Seymour Arm B.C. Every summer during the tourist and houseboat season throughout the Shuswap Lakes he sets himself up a tent on 'main street' with signs proclaiming his ability as a 'sooth sayer'. His amazingly successful monetary income is attributed to his 'gift' of not divining the future, but prognosticating the past.
So lets get to it:
November began as October left off. Most garden type fall tasks were completed in ideal weather conditions: Late autumn watering of trees, shrubs and ornamentals continued. Divisions of Hosta, Bleeding Hearts, Day Lilies, and many other five to seven year old established plants were transplanted or discarded.
Continued watering was necessary to ensure shallow rooted perennials would not desiccate. Many growers were able to apply almost any type of organic mulch beneath, or over dormant perennials. Such a task greatly improves future plant development, and lessens stressful spring perennial emergence.
Not only does mulch add fiber (tilth) to the soil, it feeds micro-organisms so vital to healthy root development. Mulch lessens greatly the evaporation of soil moisture. It also suppresses the incidence of soil-born pests like weed seeds, damaging insects and disease.
December followed the lead on November, with even more out-of-season temperatures. Fields of stubble proved that some crops were able to be harvested.
Low water in dugouts indicated the severity and necessity of hauling bulk water to cattle. Dusty side roads, and budding trees and shrubs were a contradiction of an Alberta frozen white north.
December 4th, 2002 began as most other days, but ended as a life altering experience. There are no guarantees in life, and we quickly learned how vulnerable we are, when reality is thrust upon our comfortable normality.
The latter days of December continued to parallel Victoria B.C. temperatures, and on December 23, attained a plus 17c.
Agricultural bulletins assessed our water table to be so low, that a drop of accumulated snow has to exceed 36 inches, to raise the field moisture content to at least that of an average seasonal spring.
January (2003), as the name of the month indicates, 'Janus', is truly a month of re-call and foresight. Recalling last year’s problems and achievements in the (or on) land of growing.
What about this year? Seed and nursery catalogues abound. Many new introductions of annuals for bedding and container growing are being introduced in quantity, due to cross breeding and the advancement of tissue culture.
Was it Stephen King that wrote, "be careful what you wish for"
As I complete these Info Notes, drifting and blowing snow is being added to the churning snow drop that began in mid January. To date we have an excess of accumulated snow to about 15 inches. Natures promise of snow melt that will add welcome additions to the dugouts, creeks, ponds and lakes are assured.
Assured as well, is a very interesting month ahead, and will begin immediately to have timely information, regarding hands-on greenhouse operation skills; seeding, cuttings, and grafting are but a few of the procedures.
From Feb 2003 - Notes #14
In this issue:
1. Alternate Energy
2. Favorite Plants
3. Gro Like A Pro - Spring Courses
1. Alternate Power Source:
More than just a novelty, wind power is becoming a viable energy source. For limited use of powered equipment - a wind generator has the ability to maintain a number of 12V batteries, will retain power as long as the wind blows.
Whether you use the 12V power to energize a 12V electrical system, or invert the 12V power from the batteries through an inverter, to operate 110V powered utilities, the significance of wind power is real.
The simple concept of using the strength of the wind to turn a propeller that ultimately charges a battery is not new, but finding a commercial unit that generates a useable amount of power and is easily maintained, with an affordable price tag, is a daunting task.
The one we put together uses standard low-tech parts, is simple in concept and construction.
The actual heart of the generator is a 90-dollar rebuilt 1970 to 1980's GMC pickup truck alternator, complete with built in voltage regulator. You can order one from any auto parts dealer.
The bane of wind-powered generators, is drag. The more moving parts, the less the potential of the unit to produce to the maximum efficiency, because the RPM's are decreased by friction.
A 30 MPH wind will generate full power. A mild wind will easily maintain 2 or 3 deep cycle batteries to their full charge capacity. This particular generator is capable of producing 720 watts of power [12 volts x 60 amps = 720 watts]. A more practical wattage would be 500.
The power is stored in a deep cycle battery, and either inverted to 110 volts by an inverter [available at Canadian Tire, or any Radio Shack] or simply using any of the 12 volt appliances made for the RV trade. We will be using the power to run a few pond circulating water pumps, night-lights and a simple electric cash till for our greenhouse business.
Remember: power in, dictates power out. Figure out the combined amperage of the utilities you will be running at any given time, and these added, will give you a fair idea of what the batteries can handle when fully charged. Our power unit consists of a 1 inch solid shaft that has at one end a 10 inch pulley wheel and at the other end, a one inch welded
'T' that attaches to the shaft and holds the two 36" prop blades.
The shaft runs through 2 pillow blocks that are bolted to the body of the mill. Beneath the pulley wheel is the alternator that a power line is attached to, then carries down the tower or pipe support that the whole unit is attached.
Our tower is a 50 foot one once used for wind pumping a well head for cattle, but almost any other support will do, as long as the power cord can turn freely, and not tangle as the power unit turns from the wind. Optimum revs. per minute of the prop, to have continuous power is 120.
You are welcome to come out and have a look at our generator, as it is still on the ground, but expect to have our tower in the upright position in a matter of weeks. I will endeavor to have some photos on the web site in a week or so.
2. Favorite Plants: 'Yours, Mine, or Theirs'
Like people or animals, plants have personalities, and therefore are chosen for their ingenious qualities. So, what is your favorite phyto?
What qualities do you look for when buying or growing plants in doors or out?
Oft times, I'm asked what plant might be my favorite. Well, a plant not frequently recognized, that is native to Italy and although from a zone 7, can be an interesting low-care plant, during our spring to fall, be a focal point plant in an ornamental garden or singular pot plant for deck, gazebo or portico.
A plant quite unfamiliar to most has a historic value as well as an aesthetic contribution to the world of horticulture. Of all the plants, the ACANTHUS mollis, aka Bears Breech, is by far my favorite. If not equal in recognition of the Oak leaf, the Acanthus is a very close second, when seen depicted in carved marble capitals of Roman architecture.
Native to Italy, the Acanthus is an easy keeper. Growing in a large ornate container, it adapts well and thrives indoors during the winter months, and when introduced to the landscape from mid spring throughout the summer months until ominous freezing, holds its own with other plants and becomes an attribute to the home outdoor property.
The Acanthus, can be started by seed, grown on to produce a towering spike on which blue flowers, that when dry, become thorny edged. The foliage is dark green and can attain rhubarb size. These same leaves, are representative of the foliate carvings atop ancient corinthian columns.
As you know, houseplants can also be outdoor plants when conditions moderate, to the extent that the sabbaticals will not suffer frost, wind or sunburn. Other favorites are:
Ficus domestica, or the BENJIMINA, does very well in the environment of its homeland. Native to SE Asia, the Benjimina will thrive in our changing late spring and summer weather variances.
The next most able to enjoy our Alberta clear skies and long days is the 'Rose of China' aka the HIBISCUS Malva, of the L. Malvaceae. Somewhat sheltered areas like a gazebo, or a lath buffer that cuts the wind and piercing sun is best. The Hibiscus is native to China. Knowing its heritage will infer the conditions it can tolerate without stress or complete denial.
There is another vast opportunity for you to ponder; containerizing some of our most interesting near native specimans - the SEDUM, L. sedo (to sit). Tender and hardy succulents of the Crassulacea family. Most of these plants originate from north Africa, west Asia and Europe.
During the many years, people from 'afar' have brought with them cuttings and or seed of favored plants. Over a long period many of these succulents have adjusted to our climate and have ingratiated themselves with their spritely growth of interesting leaf shape and color. Flowers are profuse, and the growth habit is upright clustered and spreading.
Some seed varieties of Sedum you might want to try are: Biting Stonecrop, Golden Stonecrop, Kamtschatium, Morganianum, Oreganum, Pachyphylum Dendroideum, Spurium, or even a Telephium. You won't find them all, but when looking on the seed racks, you might be surprised to find most of them. Hot dry conditions, no care plants that perform and resemble their hardy cactii cousins. These very small seeds can be started indoors anytime. Bottom heat, and bright daytime conditions.
For many domestic growers of annuals, the search for the perfect annual plant continues: A plant that can easily tolerate our fickle environment is but one prerequisite. A plant that
can easily be seeded indoors during March or April, then transplanted into single containers to grow on until mid, to the first of May, at which time, transplanted into the ornamental garden, or equally imposing , potted into the veggie garden. In full sun to partial shade, the plant will amaze you by becoming 'a living mulch', and a dinner table garnish for any of your favorite salads.
Great color, size and breadth, that can survive acid or alkaline soils in a single season, to go on and on and on until the snows of October and even into November. General watering and fertilizing with triple 20 during the major growing season only increases its ability to perform.
Oh Oh, just about forgot to mention the name of this marvel of the plant kingdom:
Brassico oleracea - of the Acerphato group,
Cruciferae, aka:FLOWERING KALE/CABBAGE
Habit: Unusual decorative plant with thick leaves of mixed colors. The leaves can reach 12 to 15 inches across, with rosettes of pink, purple, rose, green, yellows and white. Useful for bedding, borders, and pot plants.
Germination: Try the Osaka and Nagoya - one pack of seed about $2.00. Flowering cabbage/kale should be sown and placed in the refrigerator for 3 days, followed by germination at a temperature of 65 to 70 degrees F. Do not cover seeds with seeding media as light is necessary to germinate, which takes 10-14 days.
Water when soil becomes dry. Fertilize with triple 20 each week. A mulch of bark or compost will retain soil moisture and a constant soil temperature that aids better development of annuals and especially perennials.
3. 'Gro Like a Pro' - Spring courses are here again!
They will be held east of Chipman at our 'Zone 3 Greenhouses'.
March/April: Grafting/Cuttings. April: Greenhouse Management.
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The Art of Grafting and
The Procedure of taking cuttings to root deciduous & evergreen trees & shrubs.
Four hands-on sessions are offered:
Saturday - March 22nd 1-3:30 pm
Tuesday - March 25th' 1-3:30 pm
Saturday - March 29th 1-3:30 pm
Tuesday - April 1st 1-3:30 pm (no fooling)
Cost: $50.00 per person per session and will include juice/tea/coffee/snacks
Grafting Kits: (to include knife and tape) $21.00 ea. Please indicate with your registration if you would like to purchase a kit. Please indicate if you are right or left handed.
Classes limited to 10 persons
Please indicate a 2nd 'choice' date.
To ensure your participation please remit $50.00 soonest to:
Zone 3 Growers
PO Box 98
Upon registration you will receive directions to the course site here east of Chipman.
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Greenhouse Management and Procedure, to include hands-on:
Four hands-on sessions are offered:
- Basics of soils and soilless mix
- Preparations for seeding, planting and potting
Saturday April 5th 11-3:30 pm
Tuesday April 8th 11-3:30 pm
Saturday April 12th 11-3:30 pm
Tuesday April 15th 11-3:30 pm
Cost: $60.00 per person per one session, to include lunch.
Classes limited to 10 persons
Please indicate a 2nd 'choice' date.
To ensure your participation please remit $60.00 soonest to:
Zone 3 Growers
PO Box 98
Upon registration you will receive directions to the course site here east of Chipman.
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Coming in March Info Notes:
- Companion planting with annuals and perennials.